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Questions tagged [cultural-history]

Culture, from the Latin "to cultivate", references both the combined experience of a population and the works created by them. Thus culture is ultimately a combination of societal mores and taboos, historical memory, attitudes, and a people's contributions to literature, stagecraft, painting, sculpture, and other forms of art.

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223 views

What was the early understanding of static electricity shocks?

What was the common understanding of electric shocks caused by static electricity in the ancient world and middle ages? I'm talking about the shock when you touch something on a dry day for example. ...
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When exactly did nudity become uncomfortable? [closed]

In the present society, there's a certain discomfort associated with nudity. And the reason for the discomfort is obviously not just the untimely and unwelcome sexual arousal it might lead to. If we ...
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How old does an event have to be to be considered 'History'?

As I grew up, I advanced in my History classes until I graduated from high school in the year 2013. The problem is, I was only taught about events that happened until one or two years after World War ...
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410 views

Earliest story?

Personal amateur research shows The Epic of Giglamesh to be the earliest work of literature. I am curious if ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs depicted histories, warnings or tales? Are any simple stories ...
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448 views

Can the University of Bologna be considered the first university in the world?

There are usually two different opinions: the first group considers the University of Bolgona to be officially the first one, some others instead claim that there might have been other groups of ...
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349 views

How did Victorian British conservatives resolve the tension between valuing tradition and spreading empire?

I've started reading about British Victorian politics, and I have a question about an apparent tension in Victorian conservatism. I'd like to get a better understanding of it so I can have a framework ...
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What is the history of stay at home moms?

I am interested in learning more information regarding the history of family structures, specifically as relates to stay at home parents. The only data I can really find is from the late 60s until ...
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1answer
394 views

Which side of the Atlantic does the jack-o'-lantern come from?

There is an often-repeated 'fact' that although the pumpkin is an American plant, the Jack-o-Lantern tradition is an older Irish tradition (e.g., in today's Washington Post) in which turnips were ...
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1answer
253 views

When was the first recorded example of a race competition in human history?

Individuals in a race compete with another or others to see who is fastest. But when the race competition was invented? It is reported that races were popular in the ancient Olympic games: (see https:/...
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1answer
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Why are women banned from Okinoshima island in Japan?

Okinoshima, a sacred Japanese island that just got World Heritage listing, is a place where men are expected to walk around naked that is off limits for women. Why are women not allowed on it? This ...
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1answer
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Cultural history of Saudi Arabian rulers' uniform beard style?

Why is it that all Saudi Arabian rulers and princes, both of the present and past generations, apparently wear the same style of chin beards? (Yes, they wear the same styles of headdresses as well.) ...
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Did the fairy craze overlap the UFO one?

One theory goes that cultural interest in technologic UFOs* derived from the same paranormal sensibilities as fairies and elves of previous centuries; and as such when one waxed in interest (...
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284 views

How much did the western world know about the Soviet Union pre-WWII?

This question is inspired by being surprised at the insight of George Orwell's Animal Farm. For some reason, I had the impression that the western world was in the dark about the horribleness of the ...
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Has Any Real-World Culture Actually Included a “Life Debt” Tradition?

A common trope in fiction is the "life debt," wherein two characters become "bound together by a bond of oath" because one has saved the other's life. We consumers of media have seen this concept of ...
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When and where did people first start wearing underpants?

Specifically, when did people start wearing short underpants in addition to trousers? Loincloths and breechcloths have been worn since at least the neolithic, and various types of skirts since ancient ...
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How did the Crimean war change British society?

Background: My summer reading goal is to get a handle on Europe from 1850-1914, with a strong focus on the British Empire, and within that a focus on England. So far, I've seen multiple historians ...
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When and why did marriage become about love? [closed]

In ancient times, marriage was an institution among the wealthy, arranged entirely by parents as part of their political and economic strategy. Many cultures saw love as an impediment to marriage, ...
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911 views

Was drinking coffee with milk illegal under the Ottoman Empire?

Did the Ottoman Empire ever ban the consumption of coffee with milk? I know Sultan Murad IV banned drinking coffee by itself, but was there any laws on drinking coffee with milk? If so, what was the ...
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836 views

What led to the romantic perception of the Mayan civilization?

When the territories of the Mayan civilization were conquered in Mesoamerica, the European priests burnt all the books and references they could find about the Mayan culture. It was not until 1839 ...
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1answer
419 views

Which cultures considered dual-gender sacred

Which cultures have historically considered the manifestation of two or more genders by one individual to be either a divine trait (being a deity) or to be an indication of divine favor or association ...
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2answers
276 views

'Sub rosa' council meetings

Wiktionary's etymology of the term sub rosa reads: The rose's connotation for secrecy dates back to Greek mythology. Aphrodite gave a rose to her son Eros, the god of love; he, in turn, gave it to ...
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1answer
345 views

Did Emperor Gaozu of Han allow people he conquered to keep their cultural identities?

Did he force them to assimilate with his people or did he allow open practice of the conqueree's culture?
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433 views

Why there is no Islamic architecture with glass in windows before 18th century?

Why there is no Islamic architecture with glass in windows before 18th century? Glass windows frequently appear in gothic architecture since 11th century but why Medieval Islamic architecture lack ...
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1answer
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What literature explains life in Han dynasty tomb towns?

I've read in the book, The Early Chinese Empires: Qin and Han by Mark Edward Lewis, that ancient Chinese Emperors, upon their death, would have massive tomb hills/temples erected for their bodies to ...
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What could explain the myth (or truth) of drunken defenders during the battle of the plains of Abraham?

I have come across popular references towards the sodden or sozzled state of the French and Canadien defenders of Quebec City during the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. Mostly, these references are ...
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188 views

Are “pots of memory” an historical custom?

I found a term "pots of memory" in a novel. I searched on the web but I could not find any clues. The novel, "Kokushikan Satsujinjiken" by Mushitaro Oguri was published 1934 in Japan and people ...
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In epic migrations, why keep going?

Over time human cultures tend to naturally migrate, influenced by various push and pull factors. According to the gravity model of migration and specifically the concept of distance decay, very few of ...
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Why did some ancient societies make human sacrifices but others did not?

Why did some ancient societies like the Mayans and Aztecs make human sacrifices whereas others such as the Romans did not? Was this just chance or was there some environmental difference that made ...
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Did the roman conquerors have directives/guidelines to either integrate or assimilate foreign tribes/folks?

It is likely that Romans made no distinction between today's terms integration and assimilation. They did everything that was necessary for the expansion of the Roman empire and worked from experience....
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Has there been any culture where men typically have longer hair than women?

Most discussions of gender differences in hair length seem to argue that men have had "long" hair in many cultures (such as the answers to "When and why did having long hair become associated with ...
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How did the Mongol Nomads' System of Raiding and Trading Work?

I've read (in a source I no longer remember) that the Mongol tribes of the Steppe, like some other cultures, had this habit of raiding each other without it being seen as an act of war. More ...
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342 views

When did worship of Baal cease to exist?

I read in Luke a spot where people, witnessing a miracle of Jesus, attribute it to Beelzebub "the chief of the devils." The other apparent reference to that deity, in the Bible, is in 2 Kings 1. I ...
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139 views

Cultures of the image and cultures of the word

Steven Weinberg's 2002 review of Stephen Wolfram's A New Kind of Science contains the following: In this, Wolfram is allying himself with one side in the ancient struggle between what (with much ...
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Have the arts ever moved borders?

Many computer games (like Civilization and Endless Space), implement a "culture" or "influence" score that applies outward pressure on national borders. These scores are depicted as being raised by ...
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512 views

Why do soldiers keep their right hand inside the uniform blouse?

I don't know if generalising this kind of military culture, if there is one, to other countries is true but what I want to know is that why soldiers keep their right hand inside. An example:
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1answer
186 views

Microsocial behaviour 500 years ago in western societies

Not sure how to formulate what I want to ask, so please advice if I should change the question: looking at microsocial behaviour today, we follow a lot of informal rules, practices and typical ...
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2answers
305 views

When was the concept of “art criticism” first seen?

Today being an art critic is a full time occupation for some individuals. When/where does the concept of "art criticism" first come into being? Clarify I am NOT looking for a random person sharing ...
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276 views

What is the history of the “surrender” gesture?

The surrender gesture seems to be obvious to us - you drop your weapon, put your hands up and maybe drop to your knees or even prostrate yourself. But were those gestures universal across the globe ...
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186 views

In what contexts did male friends kiss in Europe in the 1700s?

In Stanley Kubrick's film Barry Lyndon, there's an scene where the title character's mentor, Captain Grogan, is gunned down by French troops. As he lies dying he asks Barry to "kiss me, my boy, for we ...
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101 views

Is there a name for analyzing historical societies based on who murders who?

When I was in college mumblety years ago, I had a professor who mentioned an interesting idea I'd like to learn more about. While discussing the society of the Roman Empire, she mentioned in passing ...
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Where and how did pinky promises / swear originate?

So I found this article around it, but does not mentioned references and not sure if its comprehensive. The pinky-promise, more serious than we thought Posted by Camayak plug-in | Nov 4, 2015 | ...
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What were normal bathing habits in Cairo in 1798?

In the old western world we did not bath much after the fall of the Roman Empire. I was wondering if that is the same for the population in Egypt in around 1798. This leads me to 2 questions 1) Did ...
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334 views

When did lecherousness, in Western Culture, become a primarily male quality, instead of a female one? Or is that not true? [closed]

When did lecherousness, in Western Culture, become a primarily male quality, instead of a female one? According to TvTropes: I'm a Man, I Can't Help It: Very much Newer Than They Think. In ...
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Is one of the causes behind the cultural atmosphere surrounding the Scopes trial, and the concepts about family, “children are the future”? [closed]

To start, I noticed that during the peak of the American eugenics movement (1920-1929) that anti-evolutionary bills and eugenical bills were being passed in the same 37 states (well, just about), ...
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293 views

How dangerous duels were? [closed]

I know that duels (in the form popular in Europe of XIX and early XX century) didn't always end in death (dueling to death was even prohibited by some code e.g. Boziewicz code). I would like to know ...
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6answers
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Which historical figures are remembered for actions contradictory to their intentions? [closed]

Some historical figures are remembered for their actions (Alexander of Macedon, Napoleon), while others are remembered for their intent (Charles de Gaulle). Which historical figures are remembered for ...
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4answers
423 views

Have any large scale cultural or ideological shifts ever been successfully reversed by those who opposed it?

Looking at the current political and cultural scene in many societies, one sees a pattern of tension between on one hand modernists and progressives, who see themselves as moving forward and being on ...
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2answers
593 views

When and where arose the first civilization?

I'm reading a bit about early human history, and was asking myself when and where the civilization showed up. First of all, Ancient Egypt came to mind, and I figured out that this civilization ...
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5answers
745 views

Was there a single ancient religion that all others sprang from?

Many religions share same stories, Christianity, Judaism and Islam for example (the ones I know of at least). Some of those stories could even be traced to earlier civilizations in the Middle East ...
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2answers
209 views

Term for one culture having a large influence over surrounding cultures?

Is there a somewhat established term for one culture (not state) having a comparatively large influence over surrounding/neighboring cultures? I’m not talking about the volitional political or ...